Will they stay or will they go?

Juniors Jimmy Wilkerson (pictured left) and Derrick Strait pondering leaving school early and entering the 2003 NFL draft

NORMAN -- With the deadline to the declare for this summers' NFL draft rapidly approaching, two Sooners are still struggling with the idea of whether to return for their senior seasons in Norman.

Defensive end Jimmy Wilkerson's desire to go pro has increased since the Rose Bowl as he feels he is ready to start making a living even though his draft status is not as good as it was thought to be at the first of the year.

At the beginning of the season Wilkerson was projected as a first round draft choice, but after a disappointing season Wilkerson's stock has dropped dramatically. After a recent check with the NFL, Wilkerson was projected from the sixth round to free agent status. It would be in Wilkerson's best interest to come back for his senior year, but in the end he may ignore all the warning signs.

At this point the odds of Wilkerson declaring for the NFL is 50-50.

Cornerback Derrick Strait is the other Sooner who is weighing his options. Strait has to take a look at it because the NFL loves him. For three years, Strait has been a tremendous player for the Sooners and he finished the season with a dynamite game in the Rose Bowl on both defense and special teams.

Strait is projected as a late first to second round pick and would almost certainly make a team. His problem is that he has weak shoulders and it is still questionable if he would pass the NFL physical, which would put him through a battery of tests. Another year in Jerry Schmidt's weight room would do wonders for Strait.

Strait has always indicated that he would probably come back for his senior year and it is easy to see that is what he would rather do. However, Strait's home situation is not a good one and he doesn't have much to work with.

I still feel Strait will come back for his senior year, but considering how high he would get drafted he has to at least consider it.

Wilkerson and Strait have until January 15 to declare their intentions to enter the 2003 NFL draft.

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